Weyerhaeuser Could Stay at Port for 20 Years

Rolf Boone, May 13, 2013, The Olympian

The Port of Olympia Commission is set to ratify a lease amendment at its meeting today, an agreement that could keep Weyerhaeuser and its log export business at the port for the next 20 years.

The lease amendment — the second since Weyerhaeuser first arrived at the port in 2005 — is listed on Monday’s commission meeting agenda as a consent item, meaning the lease has already been executed between the port and Weyerhaeuser and now the commission simply has to ratify it.

Port of Olympia Executive Director Ed Galligan said the lease amendment is a consent item on Monday’s agenda because it is not a new lease but falls within the boundaries of the port’s existing business.

Something “out of the norm” for the port would rise to the level of an advisory item, followed by an action item requiring a commission vote, he said.

Under the terms of the lease amendment, Weyerhaeuser will continue to export logs from the port for the next five years, followed by three lease options of three to five years, potentially keeping Weyerhaeuser at the port for up to 20 years.

Rent starts at $262,200 a year, followed by adjustments to rent starting in 2016 — and every three years after that — based on changes to the consumer price index.

Weyerhaeuser also will pay service fees and its share of stormwater costs for its leased area of 24.5 acres.

Weyerhaeuser, too, can terminate the lease by giving one year’s notice, and the port reserves the right to terminate the lease if export volumes fall below 40 million board feet per year.

Weyerhaeuser exports mostly logs to Japan from the port, with the occasional shipment to China and South Korea.

About two Weyerhaeuser ships a month call on the port, reversing a trend in which only one ship visited the port in 2008.

Since then, longshore employment is expected to grow to 33 full-time positions this year, compared with seven in 2008.

“We have the best longshore on the West Coast,” Galligan said. “It’s a significant factor in our ability to attract and retain business here.”

Monday’s commission meeting is at Rainier City Hall, the first of several port commission meetings that will take place in communities throughout the county.

The port commission sometimes takes its meetings on the road to show that the port represents the entire county, not just Olympia.

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